Architect  

Johann Fisher von Erlach

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Works Karlskirche, at Vienna, Austria, 1715 to 1737.

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Biography

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Johann Fisher von Erlach

(b. Graz, Austria 1656; d. Vienna, Austria 1723)

An architect, sculptor, and architectural historian, Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach, was born in Graz, Austria, in July 1656. Fischer left Graz to study Rome in the early 1670s.

Initially unsuccessful in Rome, Fischer eventually found work with the painter and architect Phillip Schor. Through Schor, Fischer expanded his knowledge and gained access to the important artists and patrons of the late-baroque period. In 1687, Fischer returned to Austria and settled in the capital city of the Hapsburg Empire, Vienna.

An enthusiastic student of architectural history, Fischer studied and sketched ancient Roman ruins, as well as architecture of the Renaissance and Baroque periods. In his written history of architecture, Historic Architecture, Fischer used testimonies taken from contemporary historians and etchings on old medals for accuracy. The knowledge and wit of the volume make it unique among eighteenth-century architecture books.

Considered Austria's greatest baroque architect, Fischer von Erlach synthesized elements from the full-baroque, the late-baroque and early classicism. Despite his eclectic approach, Fischer's great buildings exhibit great originality and were quickly adapted by the Hapsburg dynasty as the official court architecture.

A man of many talents, Fischer was the last great artist and architect of the Renaissance and Baroque periods. Throughout his career, Fischer received commissions for sculpture, architecture, and gardens.

Fischer died in Vienna in 1723.

Adolf K Placzek. Macmillan Encyclopedia of Architects. Vol. 2. London: The Free Press, 1982. ISBN 0-02-925000-5. NA40.M25. p74-86.

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